Family Magazine

Go with Your Gut – Kids Birthday Party Planning on Your Own Terms

By Stevezany @stevezany

Go with your gut – Kids birthday party planning on your own terms - RI Magician Kids Party Ventriloquist Steve Zany

The latest insights from RI kids party magician ventriloquist Steve Zany:

Enough is enough say some parents when it comes to making their kids birthday party overly elaborate or hosting it at a commercial venue.

Ironically, I fell victim to the trap last weekend. At my wife’s insistence we held our son’s party last weekend outside the home at the local YMCA. Of course, being a kids party magician, I would have loved to have had a magic show themed party for my boy at home.

Since my son loves sports, we had the party at the local YMCA and went with their “super sports” party package. To my astonishment, the party coordinators that day were two teenagers who admitted to me this was the first super sports party they had ever done. I asked one of the teens what their experience was working with a dozen 7 year olds and she told me that she could handle it because she was good at sports. It was a good thing I knew a thing or two about entertaining kids, because the party coordinators weren’t too coordinated and I had to entertain the kids at one point.

Unfortunately, party places are all too happy to accept parents’ money without providing them with an experienced kids party professional often times. We’ve all seen it, yet parents keep on coming back to these venues for more despite many feeling it’s not always worth the price.

“I have been to parties at bowling alleys, Chuck E Cheese and Bouncetown, says Kate Carey-Trull, a mother of two. “Parents often say it is easier to have it somewhere else, and not have to worry about cleaning house or doing dishes afterwards. However, I am never quite sure what family members would make of a party at a place with five bounce houses or video games.”

It doesn’t get easier for parents who try to go it alone without professional help, like a kids party entertainer who can occupy the children’s sometimes for up to the entire length of your entire party.

In a recent U.S. News and World Report article, mom Julie Printz explained how she spent a fortune on her child’s birthday party planning everything herself — from gift bags, to crafts to games to accessorizing the decorations. She didn’t enjoy her efforts at all, she says.

Jamie Martin, author of the book Steady Days – A Journey Toward Intentional Professional Motherhood, says “We aim for simple parties around here, too – but I’m always surprised at how even ‘simple’ can become a bit complicated.”

So why do parents feel the need to have impersonal kids parties at commercialized kids party places or try to tackle the intricacies of making an at home party successful?

Marguerite Kelly, co-author of The Mother’s Almanac, a classic parenting book, may offer the simplest of explanations: “Parents feel more pressure with just about everything they do than they used to,” she says. That reflects a broader shift in parenting culture, she adds

The editors at Readers Digest advise parents to avoid the mentality of “Let’s outdo the Joneses. Competition should be left to professional sports teams and to Wall Street. It has no place at a birthday party, unless, of course, you’re hosting a backyard Olympics.”

(Or a super sports party, I might add.)

One thing’s for sure. I’ve learned my lesson. Sometimes we as parents don’t follow our instincts. Next time I will practice what I preach.

RI Magician Kids Party Ventriloquist Steve Zany - Nickelodeon Parents Pick Award Winner!

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